Self-imposed social isolation among clients of social care organisations in the COVID-19 pandemic

Tor Olav Nævestad, Kati Orru, Kristi Nero, Abriel Schieffelers, Alexandra Olson, Johanna Ludvigsen, Merja Airola, Lucia Savadori, Marco Krüger, Friedrich Gabel, Ingeborg Hesjevoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Although self-imposed social isolation is an important way of reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection, previous research indicates that this behaviour varies substantially between different groups and individuals. Socially marginalized people are generally less involved in protective health behaviours, but there are few studies of their COVID-19 protective behaviours. The aims of the paper are therefore to: 1) compare self-imposed social isolation to avoid COVID-19 among socially marginalized groups, and to 2) examine factors influencing this, focusing especially on the role of social capital, risk awareness and sources of information about COVID-19. The study is based on survey data (N = 173) from people who are clients of social care organisations in Estonia, Norway, Hungary and Portugal. The sample involves clients living: a) in their homes, b) in facilities, and c) on the street or under temporary arrangements. Results indicate that the level of social isolation among the marginalized groups is comparable to that of the general population in previous studies. As hypothesized, we find that respondents living on the street or under temporary arrangements engage in less self-imposed social isolation than e.g. the respondents living in their homes. We also find lower levels of risk awareness, social capital and trust in authorities' information about COVID-19 among people living on the street or under temporary arrangements. Only linking social capital and trust in authorities' information was significantly related to respondents’ social isolation, and not worry for COVID-19 infection. Thus, it seems that respondents largely self-isolated because of “duty” and not worry for infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103360
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Volume82
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Covid-19
  • Marginalized groups
  • Social capital
  • Social distancing
  • Social isolation

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